The 28-year-old outfielder is among the key players in what could develop into a blockbuster three-team deal, taking shape out of the remnants of a rumored original proposal that also included the D-backs.
A baseball source said that the Yankees are still piqued by the idea of installing the left-handed-hitting Granderson into center field at Yankee Stadium, where his power bat could play nicely with the short porch and help reconstruct their lineup for a defense of the World Series title.
FOXSports.com detailed an initial deal late Monday which would have sent Granderson to the Yankees, along with one or two prospects from the D-backs.
In exchange, the Yankees would have sent right-hander Ian Kennedy to Arizona while dealing outfield prospect Austin Jackson and left-handed relievers Phil Coke and Mike Dunn to Detroit.
Detroit would have received right-hander Max Scherzer from Arizona, and the D-backs would have reeled in right-hander Edwin Jackson from the Tigers, according to the report. The D-backs are believed to have proposed the original trade.
The Yankees have had a steady stream of callers interested in their bolstered Minor League system, and as agents and front-office personnel met in Indianapolis, Day 1 of the Winter Meetings provided no exception.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman gave no indication on Monday that anything was close on the trade front, though he did provide a window into the organization's thinking when he revealed aspects of a rumored but dead trade from July.
In that potential deal, the Yankees had been seeking starting pitching help and were interested in then-Mariners lefty Jarrod Washburn. But talks crumbled when Seattle insisted upon receiving Jackson, a five-tool prospect and exceptional athlete who starred this season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"It would be nice if it all happened quickly, but when that happens, you're making some bad choices," Cashman said earlier in the day.
The Yankees won the World Series with a mix-and-match sequence of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner chasing down balls in center field, so defense is not the primary concern as the club attempts to defend its title.
But with left fielder Johnny Damon and designated hitter Hideki Matsui both free agents, New York will look to replace the lost offense if both stars leave.
That might make an option like acquiring Granderson -- something that was reported as early as the General Managers' meetings in November -- more attractive as the offseason continues.
Cashman said on Monday that his priorities were "pitching, pitching, pitching, and then left field," which doesn't exactly mesh with pulling off a trade for Granderson. Cabrera has the ability to play all three outfield positions, so he could easily slot in at left field with Nick Swisher set to return in right field.
Granderson hit .249 with 30 home runs, 71 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 160 games for the Tigers in 2009. But after earning an affordable $3.5 million this year, he is due for a sizable pay jump on his back-loaded contract, as he is scheduled to receive $5.5 million next season, $8.25 million in 2011 and $10 million in 2012.
Granderson is also largely neutralized by left-handed pitching. Last season, Granderson hit all but two of his home runs off right-handers, batting just .183 in 180 at-bats against southpaws.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.